Multifunctional Agriculture and the Relationship Between Different Functions

Chapter

Abstract

The agricultural ecosystem provides a variety of goods and services for human society. Beyond the main functions of primary production and supporting rural livelihoods, agricultural activities also provide additional benefits to the environment such as maintaining water and soil resources and enhancing food security. The social, economic and ecological services of an agricultural ecosystem are inextricable. Primary production is one of the main services of the agriculture ecosystem, and the relationship between it and other services, such as maintaining food, soil and water security, is affected by management practices and associated policies. Multifunctional agriculture is drawing increasing attention among scientists and is considered as a way towards attaining sustainability as it emphasises the complex interconnectedness and interactions between the agro-ecosystem, natural environment and socioeconomic development. China’s agriculture is facing many challenges, namely in mitigating soil erosion, improving water conservation, maintaining soil fertility and alleviating poverty, among many other problems. Moreover, the complex interrelationships and critical linkages between agriculture and other ecosystem services are still unclear. Therefore, trade-off analyses between different services are necessary before implementing new management strategies for agriculture; the continued research on multifunctional agriculture is also needed.

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lin Zhen
    • 1
  • Wenping Sheng
    • 1
  • Chao Wang
    • 1
  • Lulu Zhang
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources ResearchChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.Institute for Integrated Management of Material Fluxes and of ResourcesUnited Nations UniversityDresdenGermany

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